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Two SCO alumni were recently honored by the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA).
Mike Weeden, OD, ’92 was named the 2019 James Brownlee Optometrist of the Year and Megan Lott, OD, ’06 was named the 2019 Optometrist Community Service Award. The association presents these awards annually to recognize significant contributions to the profession of optometry and the general public.
Dr. Weeden is in private practice in Corinth and New Albany and has donated his services to provide vision screenings for various community groups and is an active participant in MOA’s 3rd grade reading initiative for those who did not pass the third grade statewide reading test. Over the course of his career, he has served as president of the MOA and chaired several MOA committees. He represents Mississippi as the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) Federal Advocacy Representative.
Dr. Lott opened Mississippi’s first full-time vision therapy practice in Hattiesburg in 2016 and a satellite clinic in Jackson in 2018. These clinics serve pediatric and acquired brain-injured patients and provide neuro-visual therapy. In 2019, she became the first Mississippi female to be named a Fellow of the College of Visual Development and only the second Mississippian in 48 years. Her mentor, Dr. W.C. Maples, was the first and only Fellow prior to that time. Her community service activities reflect her commitment to advocating for children’s vision. These include conducting vision screenings at Head Start, area schools, and community health fairs.
Congratulations to Doctors Weeden and Lott on their latest accomplishments!
Southern College of Optometry will honor the accomplishments of Drs. Allan Barker and Matt Jones during the institution’s annual Fall Homecoming and Continuing Education Weekend, October 3-6, 2019 in Memphis.
Receiving the college’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be Dr. Allan Barker, a 1975 graduate. A member of the American Optometric Association for 44 years, Dr. Barker is a past president of the Optometry Cares Foundation.
A former President of the North Carolina State Optometric Society, Dr. Barker has also served as a VOSH State Director in North Carolina, on the Essilor Eye Care Practitioner Advisory Panel, and completed the Wharton Chief Executive Optometrist course. He worked at the Olympic Vision Center in Lillehammer, Norway, and is a charter member of the AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section. He has lectured and published extensively throughout his career, including one of the first studies on hyperopic soft contact lenses in 1977 which was co-authored with Dr. Frank Fontana.
Dr. Barker has served as an SCO clinical preceptor, member of the SCO Alumni Council, and served on the college’s 75th Anniversary Celebration Committee. He and his wife Susan are the parents of three children and have one grandchild. The Barkers live in Rocky Mount and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
Receiving SCO’s Young Alumni Award will be Dr. Matt Jones, a 2009 graduate who is co-owner of Family Eye Care, located in Blytheville and Osceola, Arkansas.
Dr. Jones serves on several committees of the Arkansas Optometric Association including state legal legislative, national legal legislative, career guidance and AOP-PAC. While on the board of directors from 2011-2019, he served as President of the ArOA from 2017-2018. He is also a Treasurer of the board of directors for the Association’s charitable foundation, Vision Arkansas. Dr. Jones is a volunteer for the American Optometric Association currently serving on the Meetings Center Committee. He is also a volunteer for SECO International, serving on the Continuing Education Committee.
Politically, Dr. Jones serves as legislative keyperson for numerous state representatives and senators. He coordinates over 30 state legislative campaigns and works with other ODs to secure campaign contributions. On the national level, he is keyperson with his U.S. Congressman, Rick Crawford, and has secured his co-sponsorship on all AOA efforts.
Dr. Jones was recently named to serve on the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation board of directors. The primary program fo the foundation, Eyes of a Champion, provides eyewear and vision exams throughout Arkansas and surrounding states.
In June 2018 at Optometry's Meeting in Denver, Dr. Jones was awarded the American Optometric Association's Young Optometrist of the Year. In March 2017, Dr. Jones was recognized as the Young Optometrist of the South by SECO International. He also received the Arkansas Young Optometrist of the Year Award in 2012.
Dr. Matthew Jones received his undergraduate degree from the University of Evansville in 2005 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. From there, he attended the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN graduating with honors in 2009.
In the community, Dr. Jones is a member of the Blytheville Rotary Club where he previously served as treasurer. He now serves as chairman of the Blytheville Rotary Foundation. He is the secretary/treasurer of the Great River Charitable Clinic board of directors where he provides free eye care services and materials for the under-served. He also serves as a board member on the Greater Blytheville Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Jones practices in Blytheville and Osceola and is Board Certified by the American Board of Optometry. He and his wife, Allison, and daughters, Sutton & Elliott, live in Blytheville.
Congratulations to both of these outstanding alumni!
SCO is excited to welcome back two alumni, this time a faculty.
Dr. Catherine (Wood) Hogan received her BA from Davidson College in Davidson, NC. After graduating from SCO in 2017, she completed her residency in primary care and ocular disease at the Memphis Area Veteran’s Medical Center. Since then, Dr. Hogan worked at Distafano Eye Center in Chattanooga, TN where her focus was on treatment of ocular disease. Dr. Hogan is a FAAO, and member of AOA and TAOP. She and her husband have settled in the East Memphis area.
A 2018 SCO graduate, Dr. Laurel Roberts is delighted to be back home in Memphis. Dr. Roberts spent the last year in Chicago where she recently finished her cornea and contact lens management residency at Illinois College of Optometry. Dr. Roberts is a member of TAOP and AOA. She and her finance have put down roots in the Central Gardens area.
Congratulations to our new faculty members!
SCO Professor Glen Steele, OD ’69 is now the newest inductee into the National Optometry Hall of Fame. Dr. Steele was officially recognized by the American Optometric Association (AOA) at their annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri last month for his significant contribution to the profession of optometry, specifically his role in creating the InfantSEE program, which provides no-cost eye exams to infants in their first year of life.
Dr. Steele is SCO’s longest-serving faculty member with a half-century of teaching and providing patient care. Upon graduating from SCO in 1969, Dr. Steele was appointed as a faculty member, while opening his own private practice that he would run for 40 years.
In his 50-year career, Steele is most notably recognized for his contributions to pediatric eye care. Since the founding of InfantSEE in 2005, the program has provided eye exams to 140,000 infants, and nearly 4,000 optometrists across the country currently participate in the program. Its successes include countless early interventions for both minor issues – like lazy eye – and major ones – such as ocular cancers or diabetes – made possible by early detection in an eye exam.
Dr. Steele has authored and presented nearly 30 original papers at the Southeast Optometric Vision Forum on topics ranging from retinoscopy to vision therapy. He also regularly lectures across the world, having led nearly 200 presentations to providers about the importance of infant vision development and care.
Congratulations, Dr. Steele!
Ronald Blum, OD ’72, was chosen to receive SCO’s Doctor of Ocular Science degree and deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2019. The Founder and Chairman of NewSight Reality, Inc., Dr. Blum has founded and led a number of companies, including Encore Health and Encore Vision, which merged and sold to Novartis in 2017.
He also founded and led The Egg Factory, PixelOptics, and Innotech, part of his track record of success as a visionary innovator and businessman. As the inventor or co-inventor of more than 750 patents worldwide, Dr. Blum is one of the world’s leading inventors in the fields of optics, electronic eyewear, and vision correction. He was one of the inventors of eye drops for treating presbyopia and for spectacle lenses that block high energy blue light to provide protection against macular degeneration.
He led and managed the team that invented an developed the Definity Lens, a progressive addition lens acquired in 2005 by Essilor, the world’s largest lens manufacturer. The Definity Lens at the time became the number one selling digitally surfaced progressive addition lens in North America. ‘’
Dr. Blum founded a practice that had grown to be one of the largest multi-location private professional practices in the Southeastern United States. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Roanoke College. Although he stopped examining eyes in 1989, he continues to contribute to advances that improve sight and improve vision care through his active work as an inventor and entrepreneur.